CH2M HILL has worked with the Metropolitan Sewer District in Cincinnati, Ohio for more than six years to help the district develop and implement an asset management program and other best practices. The district is seeing tremendous success with the program, delivering tangible cost savings of more than $500,000 in one year.

By: Sam Paske, CH2M HILL professional engineer

Utilities across the U.S. are benefiting from adopting asset management practices. Asset management goes beyond physical assets and infrastructure and hones in on the processes, technologies, and people operating the equipment and managing the plant.

For six years, CH2M HILL has been working with the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSD) to develop and implement an asset management program and other best practices to take the district to the next level. The success of the program is evident in the tangible cost savings delivered –more than $500,000 in one year plus similar year over year savings.

During the last 18 months, CH2M HILL has helped the MSD’s treatment plant maintenance group build a program that includes reliability engineering, predictive maintenance, and advanced planning and scheduling, delivered through a team-based approach. Nicknamed the “Positive Energy Team”, the team is composed of champions (crafts, crew leaders, supervisors, and reliability engineers) who have stepped forward to lead the district’s strategic maintenance and reliability plan, which included six clear goals and objectives:

  • Focus on Core Business
  • Training
  • Communications
  • Reliability
  • Maintainability
  • Plan and Schedule

Combined, their efforts to achieve these goals has increased proactive maintenance hours by 23%, increased asset reliability by 18%, and reduced downtime by 26%, in addition to the significant cost reductions.

Uptime Magazine recognized the program’s success, selecting MSD as the Best Emerging Maintenance Reliability Program for 2013. Uptime Magazine’s Maintenance Reliability Program Awards recognize organizations that demonstrate excellence in managing equipment reliability using advanced strategies and high-tech sensing technologies to determine the early onset of a potential failure. The award will be presented at the 2013 International Maintenance Conference this month.

By fully committing to its maintenance and reliability plan, MSD has set a good example for other organizations to follow in their footsteps. When it comes to building an asset management program at your organization, I leave with you seven tips to consider that made a difference in Cincinnati.

  • Apply only simple, proven best practices.
  • Treat maintenance staff as professionals. (Empower them, and expect results.)
  • Build cross-functional implementation teams. (Bridge silos, connect future leaders.)
  • Hire the best advisors available. (Demand the most from your consultants.)
  • Manage the effort within a program framework. (The amount of work to do can overwhelm staff.)
  • Focus on results. (At the end of the day, delivering results through the culture is all that matters. Everything should align with defining, improving, and communicating results.)
  • The people who do the hard work running the business every day are the organization’s most valuable assets. (This is the most import point of all!)

Are you new to the asset management concept or do you have a best practice to share? Check out our blog series on asset management best practices and contact us if you have any questions or insights you would like to share!

Sam Paske, P.E. has 17 years of asset/maintenance management and technology implementation experience serving infrastructure-intensive North American water and wastewater utilities from CH2M HILL’s Saint Paul, Minn. office. He helps organizations implement best practices by working with all levels of staff to embrace and lead change. Sam’s focus areas include: strategic planning, program implementation, reliability centered maintenance, business intelligence/decision support systems, business process improvement and performance management frameworks.

The organizations Sam supports have been featured for their accomplishments by Water Environment Federation, American Water Works Association, Society of Maintenance and Reliability Professionals and Uptime Magazine. Sam graduated from the University of Minnesota with his Bachelor of Science, Civil Engineering, in 1997.